I came back recently from a trip and had the misfortune of losing my luggage. Amongst the many things lost are souvenirs and items with sentimental values.
There was initial confusion on my part over where it may have gone, whether it would be in the large luggage conveyor or with customs or stolen! But when I passed my barcode to the airline staff, the confusion was on them as well.
You see, I thought the barcode was linked with both the departing and arriving airports. Kinda like how you can scan it and track your baggage like a parcel from FedEx. However in reality it does nothing except tag your luggage with a reference number. So when it goes missing like in my case, there’s a reference number they can use.
They are not able to tell me if it left the departing airport, or arrived, or was still stuck with customs. All they can do is email the departing airport with the reference number to check if it left the country. I was told to wait for news in 2-3 days and after that, file a missing luggage report.
Monetary compensation is one thing, but souvenirs and sentimental items are priceless. Not even MasterCard can pay for those!
So that got me thinking, what is there to prevent the airline from not knowing and informing me that the luggage did not go on board? If there are systems to identify a passenger isn’t on board, and to unload the checked in luggage, why can’t the opposite happen?
It would be so stupid to know I flew 8 hours back and all this time my luggage wasn’t with me. Worst that could happen is the luggage actually goes on a world tour without me. Now imagine what if the contents are not declared safe for some countries like NZ or Australia?
I eventually got it back 2 days later. Seems like no one can tell why it was left unloaded in the cargo area, sitting there looking pretty; but it was then loaded on the next flight and reach home. There was some perishables inside which is a write-off, lucky I have insurance for that.
I know it’s not the airlines fault rather it would be the airport ground crew, but it does leave me a bad taste that the plane took off without my luggage and no one know about it.